This week, the Red Thoughts team discuss Wayne Rooney‘s future following the impressive display the team put on without him against Leicester City.
Think about it as a written podcast, a fans’ forum, a place to debate and discuss. Feel free to join in the discussion in the comments below.
BETS: Sadly, I do think it’s the beginning of the end. But Giggsy had a couple of bad seasons in his early to mid 30s and many (including me) wrote him off and thought he was past it. How wrong we were, he reinvented himself and went on another 7 years or so.
If Wayne is happy to be a squad player and be rotated, I think he could still be a good asset for us. However, if the rumours are true about dressing room rifts, if it is Wayne who is the source of the leaks that have been coming out, or if in any way he reacts badly to no longer being first choice, and his presence becomes a negative influence on the rest of the team, then I think we should look to cut our losses and get rid. I would much prefer to believe that he’ll take this as a challenge and prove the doubters wrong and “do a Giggsy”.
JIM: It is the beginning of the end. From what we’ve seen of Rooney in midfield, he doesn’t have what’s required to adapt his game in the way that Giggsy did – he struggles with short passes and doesn’t always have the passing range to succeed in that position. He has a big ego and probably won’t be happy to be on the bench, given some of his recent comments, so we should get rid of him.
COREY: I think the worst thing to ever happen to Rooney was Paul Scholes’ retirement(s). Yes, we had Carrick, but we never truly replaced Paul Scholes. Everyone then thought Rooney would be that replacement. So we saw Rooney drop deeper and deeper, and the result is a poor number 8, and a less than adequate number 10.
When Rooney’s body started slowing and his touch started letting him down, dropping him into midfield was the wrong choice. I believe he should have been pushed forward, and made into a true out and out poacher, similar to Chicharito. Someone that didn’t really help in the build up play, but was always in the box to just score goals.
I think Rooney’s best role in the team right now would be as striker with two up top and you can check out the best betting sites on the internet to see the odds on him finishing with 20+ goals this season. Imagine a 4-4-2, with Rooney and Zlatan as the forward two. Rooney would be a true poacher, with Zlatan dropping deep and linking up play. I would say to Rooney, your job and only job is to score goals, I never ever want to see you drop deep to help out in the midfield. If that had been the route Rooney had taken, then i don’t think we would be having this conversation.
REX: It’s not the end, it’s pretty close though. His lifestyle has shortened his career by quite a few years. At his position he would easily have 4 or 5 more years to play if he made the right choices. Now he seems burnt out at 30. Maybe some of it was due to being played out of position by managers, but a player who was exceptional in a certain position would never have been played elsewhere to accommodate another player in that same position. So that tells you that managers see better options at his no. 9 role. He’s definitely not a no. 10, despite what the media and pundits love to say, simply because he’s not skilled enough to run the game from there.
Much of it has been his own fault. When Ronaldo was doing reps in the gym, Wayne was partying in Vegas, smoking and drinking. He never learnt from the greats around him, took everything around him for granted and relied on ‘natural talent’. That eventually runs dry and if you haven’t been working hard, trying to perfect that talent, you end up like he has – no ideas on how to move forward.
In a squad full of nobodies, he’s a star. In a squad loaded with talent like the one we have now, he’s getting found out. Maybe the rest will do him good and he’ll come back stronger but where do you fit him in?
RICK: Rooney will not accept being a squad player and not starting every game, that is what will be his downfall in the coming months at Old Trafford. As for making him an out and out poacher, that was never Rooney’s game. Even as a striker, he still always liked to be involved and would always come looking for the ball, even in that season where he scored 30+ goals for us. As for a CM, it’s already been noted that Rooney doesn’t have the skills to play there, he is good at tackling but in terms of ball control and short passes he’s poor, to put it lightly. What should happen is that Rooney should accept he’s no longer first choice in a team full of players better than him in the positions he’s vying for, and just train as hard as possible to be able to influence the odd game he starts or when he comes off the bench.
I’m still not sure Rooney can adapt like Scholes and Giggs, as already mentioned – he hasn’t got that in his arsenal. Unfortunately, for me anyway, Rooney is a player who either needs to drop out of the Premier League to a lower level or retire.
HEMOR: I think Rooney’s number one problem is his fitness. He looks overweight, I doubt if he gyms to stay fit at all, let alone do personal training to improve himself. Rooney has been on the decline for the past 3 seasons and every season it keeps getting worse. If he can see this as a challenge and force himself to improve on all aspects of his game and work on his fitness then I can see him becoming a very good player in the coming months, but if he doesn’t, I see him leaving United very soon, because he wouldn’t accept being a substitute for the rest of his career.
I like Rooney a lot because he’s achieved so much in his career, but right now I wouldn’t put him anywhere near the starting lineup.
FAB: Regarding the leaks, I don’t believe Rooney is the source, because Mourinho would have axed him straight away – look what he did to Casillas at Real Madrid. If there is someone handing information to the media then Mourinho already’s got the name, I am sure. Nothing escapes to his filters, absolutely nothing. Mourinho has protected Rooney in public, so he must have nothing to do with the leaks. So I think there is a misconception when people consider his future, as they think it’s not just about some bad performances, but that he is also the black sheep of the squad.
We are still lucky to have him around. Just because his place is not guaranteed in the team, it doesn’t mean his career is over. We need someone to be there for the team at the right moment and not to throw them away because they’re too old and we don’t need them any more. It’s important to have different elements in the team. Why is Carrick still playing for us, for example? Simple, we need someone that won’t play every single game, but still be the general we need at difficult times.
Those who think that Rooney is done say to those of us who don’t that we should stop mentioning the years he’s been at the club. Well, why should we forget them, when it’s precisely those years of experience that make Rooney the right person to help Mourinho through the hard times? This is the next thing that United must expect from Rooney. Things change and he knows his place in the team. That’s why I think that this isn’t the end of his career. He still has a lot to offer United.
DAN: I don’t think this is the start of the end of Rooney’s career at United. Yes, due to the length of his career, his body is like that of a 35 year old. But he is still a vital leader for the team and still has a lot to offer for the team as a striker, a CAM or a CM. He still works hard for the team and has so far provided 3 assists and 1 goal from a poor start to the season. When he came on from the bench against Leicester he proved he still has a yard of pace by recording the fastest sprint speed of the game.
Rooney has been made a scapegoat over the past few seasons. I think part of that is due to the performances he has put in over the years and the way he has played in the past, with his selfless ground covering and all action displays. Maybe now he needs to be a little selfish and just do what he needs to do instead of trying to do what he has been doing all his career.
REX: What do you think about what Gary Neville said about Rooney reinventing himself at DM? He’s better than Fellaini and since Carrick is on his last hurrah, it might not be a bad option going forward.
JIM: I don’t see Rooney at DM. Schneiderlin is better there and there is also Fosu-Mensah. Herrera also showed he can do a job there against Leicester.
REX: He beats them with his passing range – other than Herrera of course, but I’ve not seen Herrera do the crossfield balls or over the top balls when we decide to go direct.
HEMOR: Carrick, Schneiderlin, Herrera, Blind, Fellaini and Pogba (probably Fosu-Mensah too) are all better options at DM. If he can work hard to be better than them then no problem, but if not, there’s no way he should be played there.
FAB: Why would we push him go to the midfield when he can be an option in attack? We still need someone like him up front. He needs to play where he always has.
BETS: I would also prefer him as an impact striker or forward. Teddy Sheringham was an amazing asset for us in his mid thirties and played much of his football coming off the bench.
DAN: Rooney could easily play as a DM but he would be more suited to a CM role in front of the DM – his range of passing is one of the best in the team.
CARL: This need to find a way to force Rooney into the side I just don’t get, he’ll take up a position that can be better filled by more natural options we have or that we could buy. Seriously, these pundits and the press need to give it a rest with their constant “solutions” to how we can accommodate Rooney, it’s distracting and will be detrimental to our progress. He just isn’t influential enough any more to warrant this fuss, as the Leicester game proved; United can compete just fine whether he’s in the set-up or not.
REX: We can compete, but there’s no way the club is going to offload him just like that. Schweinsteiger at Bayern is a perfect example. Pep no longer had use for him, but because of Schweinsteiger’s status, he was kept until they couldn’t justify his presence in the team any more. So Mourinho will have to find a way to ease him out.
RICK: If he’s not good enough then he shouldn’t be in the team, simple as. We can’t keep better players on the bench in the positions we try to put Rooney in. It’s only going to cause squad unrest.